Our curriculum is defined as 'the educational experiences that are planned for learners'. Our motto of 'Learning without Limits' sets the tone for our curriculum, and Years 7 and 8 are designed to stimulate students to take ownership of their learning journey, to enjoy themselves and to find happiness in growth. Years 9, 10 and 11 then build on this to enhance factual, conceptual, procedural and meta-cognitive knowledge. Given that people create the heart of our school, we acknowledge the individual value that teachers bring to the curriculum. Their personal inflections and reflections both add important meaning and connection to learning aims.
The curriculum delivered at USH is:
Broad: We introduce students to a wide range of experiences, knowledge and skills which are principally based on the English Baccalaureate subjects; a suite of tradional subjects which perform very favourably compared to the national average, and a route which almost all students are expected to take. We place an equal emphasis on the creative arts, languages and humanities and our students thrive in these areas.
Balanced: Our curriculum is organised so as to ensure each specialism (or subject) has sufficient time to make its unique contribution to the educational development of every student. It values their intellectual, physical, emotional, social, scientific and aesthetic development.
Relevant: Our curriculum addresses contemporary issues as well as the ‘big ideas’ that have shaped the world we now know. All aspects of the curriculum are taught in such a way as to link with students' particular experiences and to enhance their contribution to their school and to society. Students are encouraged to make connections between subjects and to shape their aspirations for careers in later life. USH believes in igniting students' talent and sense of discovery and will not artificially influence them into particular ‘job' pathways when they graduate to college. We aim to create learners who think for themselves in order to become successful and autonomous young adults.
Adapted: Assessment, planning and delivery of learning considers the abilities and aptitudes of our students so each of the five years builds progressively on the last. Our curriculum is secular and inclusive and it is designed to ensure all students achieve well. Our more-able students typically progress to the top 20% of the country.
USH promotes the British values of democracy; the rule of law; individual liberty; mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
The Art and Design department at USH is where creativity is driven by the learner.
Students are empowered by visual and expressive vocabulary: giving them the tools to communicate and express visions that are beyond the capacity of words.
- Mariella de Ruiter Hough - Subject Lead for Art & Design, Teacher of Textiles, 9A2 Tutor
- Helen Cadle - Subject Lead of Photography, Teacher of Art, 8A1 Tutor
- Jo Field - Teacher of Art and Photography, 11V1 Tutor
- Claire Weston - Teacher of DT, Graphics and Art, Tutor 10V1
- Sharon Hannah - Art and Design and DT Technician
“Citizenship gives our students a voice and shows then how to use it to make change”
All students in year 7 and 8 at USH receive 2 lessons a fortnight dedicated to PSHE and Citizenship issues. Lessons are delivered in themes, covering topics such as relationships and friendship, making healthy lifestyle choices and looking at strategies to minimise risky behaviours, as well as exploring issues such as Crime, Racism and Animal Rights.
Within Year 9, students receive Sex and Relationship Education through our partnership with the Firgrove Centre, all students will also get opportunities to participate in a range of events to explore other issues such as Human Rights, The Law and Discrimination within their lessons and during themed days.
- Anneli Clements - Acting Subject Lead for Citizenship
- Hannah Harper - Teacher of Citizenship
- Suzanne Dibden - Teacher of Citizenship
The Computing curriculum at Upper Shirley High has been designed to equip students to be safe, employable digital citizens.
Students will advance their Computational thinking skills in Year 7 and 8. These are transferable life skills that enable students to break down and sequence problems logically. The curriculum also encompasses the use and understanding of information technology. Students will undertake projects that include; web-site building, game creation, architectural design, databases and spreadsheets.
In Year 9 students can choose to specialise in Computing (GCSE) or Information and Creative Technology (Btec). The Computing GCSE has computational thinking as its core. Students develop their problem solving skills, design systems and understand human and machine intelligence.
Information and Creative Technology students will complete coursework designed to develop practical, technical and creative skills. They will gain a broad understanding and knowledge of the industry and will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in new, practical and creative contexts.
- Peter Harvey – Subject Lead for Computer Science
- Jonathan James – I Media
Claire Weston - Teacher of DT, Graphics and Art, Tutor 10V1
Adi Dinoiu - Teacher of DT and Art, Tutor 8E2
The Drama department at Upper Shirley High is a place that thrives with creativity and passion. It is a place that promotes confidence, communication, co-operation, consideration, commitment and contribution. The department aims to impart these important life skills needed during these formative years. Our department is a place that prides itself on lessons that educate, but also excite and help to develop our students into well rounded individuals, bringing out their creative side as well as developing their confidence for performing and evaluating. Therefore encouraging and enabling each other to reach their full potential during lesson time or through our successful programme of extra-curricular drama activities which enrich their time at USH.
School Values within the department
In drama we take pride in the performances that we devise and share with the class.
In drama we take pride in our contributions during whole class discussions, peer evaluation, reflection and group tasks.
In drama we take pride in our extra-curricular activities, i.e. drama club, whole school performances and rock challenge. We are proud to represent Upper Shirley High.
In drama we trust each other to be supportive when we perform and share our work.
In drama we trust the people that we work with by listening to ideas and working to the best of our ability.
We trust each other to give honest feedback to enhance our learning in order to improve.
Students will trust their teacher to provide a safe working environment where all students will reach their potential.
Students will trust their teachers to take risks
In drama we respect each other’s voiced opinions and contributions during whole class discussions and peer evaluation.
In drama we respect one another’s performances / work and provide sensible ideas using WWW and EBI. We do not talk during any performance. We appreciate all efforts made.
In drama we have ambition to climb the drama USH Steps and make progress in the subject. We listen to our formative feedback and aim to make improvements where necessary.
In drama we have ambition to create quality performances and learn new skills. We want to impress our audience and work at a high standard in every lesson.
In drama we have ambition to take part in extra-curricular activities and school shows.
In the drama department we have high expectations in order to get the results.
In drama independence is evident when we devise our own performances and create work that demonstrates our individual ideas.
During performance although we work as a team and it is about the collaboration we have independence when we create our individual character and perform.
Janine Lambert – Subject Lead for Theatre Arts
Annia Evans - Teacher of Drama
The English department at Upper Shirley High seeks to equip pupils with the essential literacy skills which will not only allow them to excel in aspects of Language and Literature, but also to confidently access a range of subjects across the entire curriculum. English lessons are an opportunity to discover, explore, discuss, imagine, and question – regardless of whether you are studying a classic novel or a news article published just the day before! In a world that is constantly changing, we want our pupils to use the written word to gain a better understanding of the issues which affect us all, and feel able to articulate their thoughts and feelings about them. As a department, we look to share our understanding and expertise in creative ways with the intention that our students will begin to share our great enthusiasm for this diverse and varied subject. We pride ourselves on high expectations and encourage all pupils to aspire to achieve their optimum across reading, writing and spoken language.
Bhavini Goldman - Subject Lead for English
- Bhavini Goldman - Subject Lead for English
- Dan O'Farrell - Second in English
- Sarah Hayward
- Clare Williams – English
- Sarah O'Halloran - English and Literacy
- Sarah Baillie - English
- Janny Ahmed - English
- Alice MacDonald - English
- Sophie Castle - English
The film department is committed to providing the best support to enable all students to develop their creative talents through highly skilled teaching and creativity. With a diverse curriculum, your child will have opportunities to try their hand at screen writing, storyboarding, filming, directing, marketing projects and analysing the impacts of those choices as they are made in the industry, leaving them confidently prepared for a world that is full of media and moving images.
- Sarah O'Halloran - Subject Lead for Film Studies
Choose Life. Choose Upper Shirley High. Choose the food department. Choose tasty food. Choose a balanced diet. Choose the healthy eating guidelines. Choose to avoid the obesity epidemic. Choose happy healthy young people. Choose to encourage positive change. Choose to work independently. Choose to learn the skills and techniques required to change raw ingredients into delicious food. Choose provenance. Choose positive consumer choices. Choose trading fairly. Choose seasonal food. Choose organic. Choose to learn and grow safely. Choose food hygiene. Choose essential life skills. Choose time management, independence, organisation and budgeting. Choose social interaction. Choose to make over 30 dishes before you are 14 years old. Choose to make your own chocolate. Choose to have fun. Choose Upper Shirley High. Choose Life. Choose the food department.
- Joseph Davies – Subject Lead for Food and Nutrition
- Gunhild Chifunda - Food and Nutrition
- Jacqui Ray - Senior Food and Nutrition Technician
- Nikki Bignell - Senior Food and Nutrition Technician
- Charlotte Bartlett - Food and Nutrition Technician
Geography is a dynamic subject that is relevant to the 21st century and the world we live in. It is a subject that not only teaches us about the natural and man-made Geography of the world, but also equips students with the key transferable skills that are needed when pupils leave school, such as communication, data analysis and problem solving skills.
Please visit our Twitter page twitter.com/geographyush
Our world is our responsibility and our students are at the heart of its future. They are enriched by an awareness of the diversity of our environments and are inspired to seek them out and protect them. Students are challenged to investigate key issues facing the local, national and international communities. Following outstanding geographical experiences that are current, relevant and forward looking, the USH student leaves us fully equipped with the skills, understanding and values to participate as active global citizens. Geography helps us to learn how we can contribute to a sustainable future for our world.
The themes taught in Geography cover local, regional and global scales. These include forever changing topics which take into account current world issues and it is this that makes it an exciting subject to study.
- Emma Hyslop – Subject Lead for Geography
- Megan Stagg – Geography
- Kimberly Humphries - Geography
“A country without a memory is a country of madmen.”
“We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world ~ or the last.”
John F. Kennedy
“History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.”
Robert Penn Warren
‘History is for all! We encourage curiosity, broaden horizons and promote independence through a variety of activities in and outside the classroom. We are all about enquiring minds.’
History is a very popular subject at Upper Shirley High across the key stages. We develop an enthusiasm for the subject in all our students. History is one of the most important subjects in the curriculum because it enables students to know who they are and where they fit in the broader context of their place in society, the world and in time.
We provide opportunities for pupils to develop successful working relationships with others, through group activities and role play, as well as developing their skills of self-discipline, independent learning and problem-solving. A range of active teaching and learning techniques, textbooks and resources, trips and ICT are utilised to ensure that all students are engaged.
- Stuart Farley - Subject Lead for History
- Adriane Mahoney- History
- Leonie Clay - History
- Adam Stott - History
Mathematics; where students develop and enhance their skills of the universal language of communication. Mathematics transcends all boundaries and so do our learners.
- Jo Eyre - Subject Lead for Maths
- Agnieszka Adamou – Second in Department
- Katarzyna Mochon-Wojbyla – Maths
- Asma Khan - Maths
- David Vuong - Maths
- Andrei Van Schalkwyck - Maths
- Orsi Toth - Maths
- Ellie Vlismas - Maths
Languages; The department where students are enthused and excited about learning languages and new cultures. Students communicate confidently in another language.
To achieve our goals we all must communicate effectively, increase urgency, empower each other, celebrate wins regularly and build momentum.
Language Learning at USH
Year 7 – All students will learn French or Spanish
Year 8 – All students will continue to learn the language started in year 7 and will pick up one of French, Spanish or Italian
Year 9 – All students will have the option of studying one (or two) of French, Spanish or Italian to GCSE
Year 10 – Students will continue with their GCSE course(s) in French, Spanish or Italian
Year 11 – Students will continue with their GCSE course(s) in French, Spanish or Italian
- Noemi Nieto – Subject Lead for Languages
- Gopaal Bhardwaj - Assistant Headteacher and Spanish
- Marie Connolly – Spanish & Latin
- JJ Smith - French
- Kelly Alves - French and Spanish
The USH Music Department offers a full range of creativity, expression, communication, understanding, development of skills, appreciation, co-operation and participation. Students explore a full range of media, resources, technologies, genres, styles and contexts. Music is made accessible to all for a full range of abilities, interests, skills and purposes, within the curriculum and beyond.
The Music Department provides opportunities for all students to participate in celebrations and productions, at Remembrance, Christmas, School Productions, Awards Evening, JEP Summer Festival and larger-scale Southampton Music Hub events. Instrumental lessons are available for all levels of learner and our musicians are renowned for their dedication and for performing up to the highest standards within the City and school ensembles.
Believing in excellence and engagement, Respecting contributions and skills and Succeeding in bringing together a community through Music and encouraging the musicians of the future.
- George Smith - Subject Lead of Music
- Max Copsey - Music
Welcome to the P.E. Department
We hope you find these pages informative and useful and that they give you a taste of the provision offered to our pupils within Physical Education at Upper Shirley High School. We are proud to offer a broad, balanced, exciting and challenging curriculum to our students in Years 7 - 11. In addition, we also provide AQA GCSE PE for students to gain a qualification in PE and Sport during their Senior years.
- To deliver a broad and balanced curriculum
- To offer a logical and accessible progression into PE at Year 9
- To promote a positive learning environment in which all students can achieve, regardless of their PE background or ability
- To increase the self-esteem of students, and engender an enthusiasm for the subject
- To monitor the progress of each student regularly
- To offer a wide range of extracurricular opportunities to develop the work in lessons
- To provide opportunities for student to undertake roles such as Sports Prefect in years 10 and 11
Talent Development Squad
Students at KS3 with a high level of potential sporting
talent are identified on a termly basis to join this group. This talent
development squad are provided with opportunities to build on their sporting
talent and progress to the next level of their performances.
Our criteria of identifying talented students in PE lessons
include; attitude towards learning, consistent and outstanding practical
performances, engagement in learning and transferable skills across a variety
This is a new initiative being introduced in 2023, where we
will look to develop and support students at KS4 to be sporting leaders of the
future. This programme will provide students with the knowledge, confidence and
opportunities to lead warm ups, volunteer at school sporting events, community
events and provide further opportunities to assist with extra-curricular
GCSE PE has a practical component worth 40% of the overall examination grade. An example of some of the practical activities students follow are listed below:
- Table Tennis
It is highly recommended that those who choose GCSE PE should play for a team inside/outside school as a minimum requirement.
The practical element of the course also involves analysis of performance which counts for 10% of their practical mark. Students learn how to identify their strengths and weaknesses, in order to plan for improvement with a written piece of coursework in year 11.
60% of the overall grade is a theoretical examination. This is split into 2 papers both worth 30% each (78 marks each).
· Applied anatomy and physiology
· Movement analysis
· Physical Training
· Use of Data
· Sports psychology
· Socio-cultural influences
· Health, fitness and well-being
· Use of Data
PE kit consists of the following:
The USH PE blue polo shirt
or a plain white tshirt, USH PE ¼ zip sweatshirt, black shorts, black ‘skorts’
(cross between a skirt and shorts). In colder weather, plain black or dark navy
tracksuit bottoms are acceptable (with minimal logos) and trainers (suitable for indoor
and outdoor use).
All are available from My Child at School App. Girls are permitted
to wear plain black LYCRA sportswear leggings – fashion cotton leggings are not
All PE kit must be properly named and labelled.
The wearing of shin pads and mouth guards are strongly
advised for some sports. The PE teacher will provide advanced notice to
students when this is required in the appropriate unit of work (Football,
Yr7 and Yr 8 students will be required to wear studded
football boots for some units of work (Football, Rugby). The PE teacher will
provide advanced notice of this.
Meet the Team
Chris Janata – Head of PE – Christopher.Janata@ushschool.org
Rick Staples – Head of Football – Rick.Staples@ushschool.org
Claire Fortune – Head of Netball & Athletics – Claire.Fortune@ushschool.org
Kieron Hall – Head of Basketball & Cricket – Kieron.Hall@ushschool.org
Victoria Way – Head of House – Victoria.Way@ushschool.org
Lisa Suffling – Head of KS3 PE and Rugby – Lisa.Suffling@ushschool.org
At Upper Shirley High, we believe that allowing opportunities for personal and spiritual development is as important as securing the academic skills. Therefore, all students in year 7 and 8 will receive one hour of Religious Studies education every 2 weeks.
These lessons aim to build understanding and knowledge of the different people who live in the UK and the various beliefs represented. Students will be encouraged to think critically, ask challenging questions and consider religious and moral issues that face society today.
In Year 7 and 8, students will be introduced to aspects of the 6 major religions, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism through examining moral and ethical questions such as:
- How did the world begin?
- Are Humans responsible for evil and suffering in the world?
- Should the UK reinstate the death penalty?
- Can you change things without using violence?
- What is religion like in the 21st Century?
- Why have different groups suffered persecution?
- Is Jedi a religion?
In Year 9,10 and 11, all students will continue to reflect and build their understanding of society through dedicated units in the PSHE curriculum focusing on the role of marriage and the family, discrimination within society and issues surrounding blood and organ donation.
For those who wish to continue studying Religious Studies in more detail there is also the option of choosing the GCSE course at the end of year 8.
We follow the AQA Religious Studies A curriculum, which with units on “Crime and Punishment” and “War and Peace” allows us to continue to explore many ethical questions including the rights of animals, the role of men and women in society and the treatment of people today.
For the GCSE course, students are expected to specialise in 2 religions, at Upper Shirley High, we follow Christianity and Hinduism.
As outlined by the Government, parents do have the right to withdraw their child from Religious Studies lessons in order to follow a curriculum, which more closely matches the religious beliefs and values of your family.
However, we would encourage you to contact the school for more information around the lessons taught and the resources used, so you are thoroughly informed used before making that decision.
- Gavin Rumsey- Acting Subject Lead for Religious Studies
- Gregory Smith - Religious Studies
Students follow a 5-year curriculum. Therefore, ever year is equally important in the students’ progression to their GCSEs.
In Years 7 and 8 students are taught using AQA’s Big Ideas, each of which has a theme and applies science to real world scenarios.
Year 9, 10 and 11 are currently following the AQA Combined Science: Trilogy specification with the top class in Year 11 following the AQA Separate Science specifications.
We rely heavily on formative assessment and online learning tools. We are enthusiastic users of Kerboodle so all our students have access to it as well as other platforms such as Focus Science and eChalk.
Lastly, our students are assessed frequently but not excessively to allow them to be independent and reflective learners.
- Andrei Stanescu - Subject Lead for Science
- Stacey Sellick - Second in Science
- Alysha Cole - Science
- Nadine Cullum - Science
- Hayden Fosling - Science
- Tim Roberts - Science
- Darren Loader -Science
- Kashla Robinson - Senior Science Technician
- Heidi Mittoo - Science Technician
- Jayne Cooper - Science Technician